Seeds of Promise Series by Shenica Graham
Maximizing Ministry Part X – The Ten Commandments
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Memory Verse: I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Exodus 20:2).
Scripture Basis: Deuteronomy 5:6-21
Related Reading: Exodus 20
When you enter into a contract, there is usually some verbiage like, “… in consideration of the work that one party has done,” there is an agreement for some thing(s). The Ten Commandments are your side of the deal, to uphold and to do in consideration of the work that God has already done on your behalf. Traditionally, the Ten Commandments are presented in terms of penalties for defaulting on the covenant. We will also examine some of the benefits of keeping your end of the bargain.
In this edition of Maximizing Ministry, we find Moses has come down from the mount of Horeb, bringing the tablets written by the finger of God, which contain the letters of His law. Moses gathered the Israelites to hear what God said (Deuteronomy 5:1). Moses explains that the law is to be to each person a personal commandment, being a direct communication from God to their generation, and not only something passed down from their forefathers (Deuteronomy 5:3). God came and spoke to the people directly, but since they were afraid by reason of His fiery presence, Moses stood between they and God; and would now deliver the message (Deuteronomy 5:4).
God was making a new covenant to be honored from this day forward (Hebrews 3:15). When you count your blessings, you will likely find that for the ten items on God’s list, He has performed many more than ten good deeds on your behalf. He has made many more promises, and has no record of failing. Any shortcoming can only be had in us, as He is perfect.
Have you been delivered from sickness or disease? Has your prayer of salvation been answered? Have you been divinely protected from hurt, harm, or danger? What is your Egypt, from whence the Lord God has spared your life? The Children of Israel had been delivered by God from their taskmasters in the house of Pharaoh, in a land that was not their home (Exodus 20:2).
In consideration of God bringing them out of Egypt with a mighty hand, He asked that they be consecrated unto Him. In consideration of God’s divine intervention in your life, He has provided this law (Exodus 20:3-17); and has by way of His faithful ones, defined your reasonable service (Romans 12:1); and has instructed you (II Timothy 3:16) in how to maintain your relationship in good standing with Him.
The Purpose of The Law
The Ten Commandments are not a sin cure-all – but if you will do them, you are less likely to offend in other ways. By keeping these commandments, which must be an active undertaking, you are more likely to rule the unruly members of the human nature – which left unchecked, are enemies of consecration.
Consecration is not just a ceremony, though it may be part of a ceremony. When you consecrate something, you dedicate its use to some specific purpose. When you consecrate yourself (Romans 12:1-2) to God, you make a commitment to dedicate yourself to God’s purpose. But how? Rather than giving the people a loaded word, God gave specific instructions to help define and usher in this process, which the people would need to go through in order to remain in service with Him. When they failed to do these things, one failure typically led to another, and sooner or later the people found themselves in a world of troubles.
The Ten Commandments are evidence of God’s promise to give you a way to escape destruction (I Corinthians 10:13). In fact, He cares so much to keep you from falling (Jude 1:24) that He not only made provisions for repentance and forgiveness (to heal any breach after it is committed), He also proved His faith in your potential to live in holiness rather than being a slave to sin – indefinitely failing without learning from or growing by your mistakes. He gave you a method of preemption, to prevent your unnecessary sliding out of His will. God would not have given a way of escape if there were no way for you to resist temptation.
God has said that He showed mercy on thousands who love Him and keep is commandments (Deuteronomy 5:10). Better to be in the running for mercy, than tied for damnation (Deuteronomy 5:9). By keeping His commandments, you may prolong your days and also bring a blessing on your family (Deuteronomy 5:29, 33).
Praise to God is comely for the upright (Psalm 33:1); yet without a lifestyle that is in worshipful communion with Him, praise gets difficult to do – even cumbersome, lacking joy. This is not a sacrifice that God desires – one made begrudgingly. Incorporating the Ten Commandments into everyday life is something that requires love. It takes a love for God to go beyond listening and begin truly living according to His words.
The First Commandment
Exodus 20:3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
We know that there is no other god like the God who made heaven and earth (Exodus 15:11, Isaiah 44:8, 46:9, I Corinthians 8:6), before whom were none and after whom none shall be (Isaiah 43:10, Revelation 1:8). We must take care to keep Him at the center of our being, because He is jealous for His zealous ones – which we all have the potential to be. Read More
The Second Commandment
Exodus 20:4-6 “4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
Idol worship is a sad misuse of the gift of God. Consider that since God has made people in His image, we are a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7). The almost heavenly have no business bowing down to inanimate objects. Read More
The Third Commandment
Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
Many people translate this verse to mean, “do not use profane (cussing) language. I do not disagree that this is a valid revelation. However, it may be more than a charge to stop the foul-mouthed rant that misuses God’s name. As explained in a similar view, when we become a part of God’s body (his obedient, “… my people, who are called by my name…” (II Chronicles 7:14)), we take on the name of Him who has called us out of darkness (I Peter 2:9). Read More
The Fourth Commandment
Exodus 20:8-11 “8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
God rested after creating all things. He later commanded that a day of rest be incorporated into our lives. God knows the limitations of the human vessel which He made by His own hands (Genesis 1:27). Read More
The Fifth Commandment
Exodus 20:12 “2 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
As supreme creator, God gave people something unique: parents. God has no creator, being the beginning of all things (Revelation 1:8). Jesus said that those who do the will of His Father in heaven are his brother and sister and mother (Matthew 12:50). Read More
The Sixth Commandment
Exodus 20:13 “Thou shalt not kill.”
Physical murder is surely prohibited in the sixth commandment. God intended to reserve unto Himself, the power to give and take life. Willful killing creates a fault between man and God. By assuming a power that reserved for Him, the murderer disregards the relationship with his creator and attempts to put himself in God’s role. This is an error because the servant is not greater than his lord (John 13:16). Read More
The Seventh Commandment
Exodus 20:14 “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
The adulterous heart sins not only against its betrayed love. It sins against itself (Proverbs 6:32); and in either case, it is not of God (I John 2:16). Adultery may be committed without ever touching another person (Matthew 5:28). It is not just a matter of lust. It is also a matter of pride and trust. Read More
The Eighth Commandment
Exodus 20:15 “Thou shalt not steal.”
God is our Jehovah – Jireh, “our provider” (Genesis 22:14). Since God does not rank sin, stealing is as bad as breaking any other of His laws. If we desire what we do not have, we must carefully observe our reason for having whatever it is that we lack. If we are stealing because we are trying to gain possessions that give us status, this is a result of covetousness (the 10th Commandment). Read More
The Ninth Commandment
Exodus 20:16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
A false witness is a lie. To bear a false witness is not only to falsely accuse, but also to bear the weight of having done so. Liars have a special place in eternity if they do not repent (Revelation 21:8). Lying robs us of freedom, which is only perpetuated by truth (John 8:32).
The Tenth Commandment
Exodus 20:17 “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
Covetous living is a testimony of discontentment. To be discontent is to lack satisfaction. One of the most important lessons we get from is the learning of how to be content (Philippians 4:11-13). This is a step that we complicate with thoughts of, “I can’t or I have to have… because…”
Eleven & Beyond
As mentioned earlier in this edition, the ten commandments are a guideline, and not an exhaustive list on holy living. Doing these things only will not make you perfect. We need Christ in order to have salvation. In daily life there may seem to be plenty situations you encounter, whose exact translations are not presented in the ten commandments we see here. However, with some contemplation, you may find that most if not all situations are in fact related to one or another of these ten and you should be on your guard.